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Examining Teacher Talk During Transition Episodes in a Preschool Classroom

  • Author(s): Ryan, Eve
  • Advisor(s): Bailey, Alison
  • et al.
Abstract

While scholars have highlighted the importance of the language environment in the preschool classroom, there remains a dearth of research on the precise nature of the language children encounter in these early academic settings, especially during transitions (i.e., periods when children are involved in personal or classroom activities as they move from one setting to another across the preschool day). This study examined a teacher’s linguistic practices during transitions in a preschool classroom located in a public school, based on video observations and transcripts of teacher talk. Overall, the study found that teacher talk during transition periods is significantly less rich than during other activity settings combined. However, results also suggest that teacher talk varies within transition type. Interestingly, the teacher still managed to a limited extent to seize opportunities to engage in rich extended conversations with students during transitions. These findings point to the need to include transitions in studies of teacher language in preschool, especially given the considerable amount of time spent in such instances throughout the day.

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